Finding the best bottle of tequila is a fun endeavor. It means getting to try a lot of tequila, after all. Broadly speaking, tequila comes in three main categories: Blanco or Plata (sometimes just called Silver), Reposado, and Anejo. Plata is generally unaged or aged for a very short amount of time. Reposado is a tequila that’s been aged for less than 12 months. Anejo is aged for over a year, often 18 months, sometimes longer. Recently, the powers that be in Mexico added a fourth designation, Extra Anejo, for tequilas aged over three years.
Reposados are our focus today. Reposado literally means “rested.” The blue agave distillate generally spends anywhere from two to 12 months in a barrel. More often than not, the favored barrels are once-used American oak from bourbon distilleries. Less than a year of aging may seem like a surprisingly short time for tequila to mellow when bourbon needs about two to four years, but given Jalisco’s warmer climate it makes sense that less time is needed than down in a shady holler in Kentucky.
This unique aging process draws out flavor from the oak into the agave, giving the drink a deep complexity. The vegetal state of the tequila with a clear agave fruit dimension is bolstered by woody spices but isn’t mellowed beyond recognition. That means you’re going to get rich sweetness paired with floral bursts.
To help you find the best of the best without breaking the bank, we’re offering up some of our favorite bottles of Reposado Tequilas below. These picks are perfect as you prep for Cinco de Mayo celebrations over the weekend.
El Jimador Reposado Tequila
A “Jimador” is the farmhand who looks after the blue agave as it grows and eventually harvests the pina, or heart of the agave, to start the process of making the tequila. El Jimador dry roasts their pinas in clay ovens, next it’s double distilled before aging in bourbon oak for just over two months.
Tasting notes: The taste here is very fruit forward. The blue agave is supported by notes of sweet cherry and hints of strawberry. There’s a clear oaky vanilla nature that gives way to cinnamon and white pepper spice. Overall, this is a deluxe tasting Reposado at a very accessible price point.